Vincent Kenwon Scott, 39, was charged with attempted rape following an attack outside of a McDonald’s in Downtown Mobile, Sept. 4. (MCSO)
A man who’s been in and out of jail for more than a decade is accused of brutally attacking and sexualy assauling an eldery woman in broad daylight last week only hours after leaving police custody.
According to the Mobile Police Department, Vincent Kenwon Scott, 39, allegedly entered the victim’s car around 7 a.m. on Sept. 4 as she was leaving the McDonald’s at 658 Government Street in Downtown Mobile. Police say Scott initially asked for money, but began assaulting the victim after she refused.
Records indicate Scott had been released from Mobile County Metro Jail less than 24 hours earlier after completing a 60-day sentence for a public lewdness arrest from July. The assault has since raised questions about downtown safety and why someone with Scott’s criminal records was walking the streets.
Few details were released about the assault, but in an interview with FOX 10 reporter Toi Thornton, the unidentified victim said the man hit, scratched, choked and bit her on the face — so hard at one point that it broke her nose. She also told Thornton her assailant lifted her top and tried to reach into her pants.
A complaint signed by one of the responding officers indicated Scott was masturbating while some of this transpired, which is part of the basis for the attempted rape charge he is currently facing. He is also charged with assault, possession of drug paraphernalia, public lewdness and sexual abuse.
According to the victim’s statements to FOX 10, there were people in the parking lot who saw the attack and were recording it with their cell phones instead of trying to help. She said the attacker finally stopped after a fireman came to the car and confronted him.
Police haven’t said whether any bystanders who may have filmed the attack have been interviewed, but a spokesperson for the Mobile Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) did confirm to Lagniappe that “an MFRD firefighter assisted on scene and requested Mobile police.” There is a fire station less than a quarter mile from the McDonald’s.
After the assault, the victim was transported to the hospital to be treated for her injuries. She has since been released. Police say Scott fled on foot as officers arrived, but was apprehended shortly afterward despite some resistance. He was transported back to Metro Jail within a few hours of the incident.
The restaurant, which does at times have armed security, is owned and operated by Barnes Family Enterprises. Lagniappe reached out to the company’s corporate number about the incident but did not receive a response. At this point it’s unclear if employees were aware of the attack as it was happening.
Court records indicate Scott has a long list of prior arrests in Mobile County. One of those made news in 2018 after Scott was charged with third-degree arson and criminal trespassing — charges that stemmed from a fire Scott allegedly started after breaking into a stranger’s house and trying to cook food.
In all, Scott has been arrested 32 times since 1998 on charges that range from burglary to domestic violence and drug possession to theft. Yet, prosecutors say he has mostly moved in and out of state prisons and local jails because most of the charges against him have not been this severe.
“A lot of his history involve misdemeanor charges or they occurred within the city of Mobile and were in Municipal Court,” Assistant District Attorney Tandice Hogan said. “Those cases aren’t in the DA’s control, but based on the fact that he has three prior felonies and now several new arrests for additional felonies, we will seek a significant sentence when we get to that point.”
According to Hogan, Scott’s most recent felony charge was nine years ago, in 2010, which resulted in a 10-year prison sentence. However, he only served two years behind bars before being released on probation, though he returned to jail for some time after subsequently violating that probation.
Hogan noted that if convicted for any of the pending felony charges for attempted rape, sexual abuse or assault, Scott could face life in prison. She also said those could be served concurrently or back to back, and indication prosecutors would push for a significant sentence if Scott is ultimately found guilty.
Scott was granted a $80,500 bond for all of his combined charges by District Judge George Zoghby last week over objections from local prosecutors who claimed he could present a danger to the community and has a history of missing court. Despite that, Scott was still behind bars as of Sept. 10.
One thing that’s yet to be determined is whether Scott’s mental health will play a role in his prosecution. An MPD spokesperson told Lagniappe that Scott’s “mental state” was primarily to blame for the recent attack, adding that police presence in the downtown area wasn’t an issue.
Officials from MPD declined to be interviewed about downtown safety in general, though the department did open a new precinct dedicated to the downtown area in March.
While jail officials indicated Scott has been housed in the mental health unit before, they said he’s never met the criteria necessary for staff members to submit a petition for an emergency commitment hearing — something typically done when an inmate is considered a danger to themselves and others.
Scott is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing before Judge Zohgby on Monday, Sept. 30.
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